Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.